By Julian Pecquet - 11/21/11 05:24 PM EST
President Obama on Monday signed into law legislation making it harder for people to qualify for Medicaid and insurance subsidies under the healthcare reform law.
Republicans pounced on the provision after discovering that the law would have let some middle-income people qualify for Medicaid because it didn't count Social Security earnings when determining eligibility. Legislation to change the income definition passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers.
Advocates for people with disabilities however criticized the change.
Some 1.8 million people who receive Social Security disability payments are stuck in a two-year waiting period before they can qualify for Medicare, and many of them would have been eligible for Medicaid under the original income definition. Advocates say the long-term care services provided by Medicaid — help with getting dressed and eating, for example — are designed for people with disabilities.
The bill signed Monday also repeals the 3 percent withholding law on certain payments made to vendors by government entities and provides incentives for businesses to hire veterans.